Content of the study:
The private school market - France

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1.1 Definition and scope of study

A private school in France is one that has not signed an agreement with the state to carry out its activities. The establishment receives no state subsidy, but receives private donations and charges admission to its school.the school's autonomy is symbolized by a high degree of autonomy in setting school curricula and freedom in teaching methods.

Non-contractual private education is a segment of private education in France, with just under three million students. Non-contractual private schools cover the entire range, from nursery to secondary school. Three other segments are present, including private education under contract with the State, which is by far the largest in France, and is often linked to Catholic education.

In 2015, there were more than a thousand non-contracted schools, a third of which were religious in nature: the others were bilingual schools, schools following the Montessori method and schools using the Steiner method. the Montessori method encourages children's autonomy and initiative, with mixed ages and an educator as guide, while the Steiner method emphasizes creaativity and artistic activities, differing in its absence of academic knowledge before the age of seven and exclusively oral lessons, as well as in its division into age groups.. These fee-paying schools have a higher baccalaureate pass rate than public and contracted high schools (95% vs. 88%), and are mainly located in the Paris region.

Overall, there is a clear upward trend in the number of non-contracted schools, which are becoming an increasingly important part of the French educational landscape.Between 2015 and 2021, the number of non-contracted collèges/lycées rose by 16%, while the number of schools increased by 23%.

Private non-contract schools declare their openness, but opposition is possible; they do not follow public curricula, manage the recruitment of their teachers, are inspected, and students must pass an exam to transfer to public education.

1.2 France's private school market builds on its success

For over ten years, the success of private schools outside the contractual framework has been illustrated by the opening of more and more establishments. In ****, **,*** pupils were enrolled in these alternative primary and secondary schools, representing just *.*% of all schoolchildren.

Enrolment of French students France, ****, in Source: ****

However, the number of ...


2.1 Typology of demand

Elementary and pre-elementary pupils enrolled in non-contractual schools France, ****, in units and percentages Ministry of Education

It has been observed that the number of pupils enrolled in non-contracted classes declines steadily from the very early section to the CM* level. In fact, the number of pupils rises from **** in the very ...

2.2 Trends in private non-contractual schooling

growth in pupil numbers in non-contractual pre-school and elementary education France, ****-****, in units Ministry of Education

The number of pupils in non-contractual education rose steadily between **** and ****, from ***** to ***** pupils, an increase of ***%. This growth is particularly marked between **** and ****, with an increase of **%, and between **** and ****, with an increase ...

2.2 Out-of-contract private schools as an alternative to a difficult school career

Non-contractual private schools have the advantage of being differently selective and welcoming students with learning difficulties or who have dropped out of school, offering them an alternative pedagogy.

At primary level, schools are chosen for their different pedagogical approach; on the other hand, "choosing a non-contracted secondary school is often the ...

2.3 Private schools by socio-professional category

Despite the possibility of obtaining a scholarship to study in a private school (***), there is little social mix in private schools. in Paris, only *% of schoolchildren from disadvantaged socio-professional backgrounds attend private schools, despite the fact that **% of them live in the capital.

At national level, the situation is less extreme, ...


3.1 Growth in the number of non-contract private schools in France

Overall, there is a clear upward trend in the number of non-contracted schools, which are becoming an increasingly important part of the French educational landscape.

Trend in the proportion of private schools without contract among all schools France, ****-****, in percent Ministry of Education

Between **** and ****, the share of collèges/lycées ...

3.2 Bilingual and international schools

Bilingual schools are becoming more and more common in France, and this trend has not escaped the so-called alternative schools.

These schools offer language courses (***) alongside French, and welcome students from kindergarten to lycée. Most of the time, groups are small to enable students to receive personalized support and to ...

3.3 Non-contracted private religious schools

According to the chart below, the majority of private schools with no contract are secular schools, offering no religious education whatsoever. These schools may follow the Steiner or Montessori methods, or offer bilingual teaching.

Type of private school France, ****, as % of total Source: ****

Among these **% of schools attached to a religion, ...

3.4 Focus on the Montessori and Steiner methods

Among secular schools, the breakdown by type is as follows:

Number of non-contract secular schools by type France, ****, in Source: ****

* : The so-called active pedagogies correspond to the Nuyts, Freinet, positive discipline methods, or even the most famous Steiner method

** : Specific target groups include disabled, gifted and dyslexic pupils.

Breakdown ...

3.5 Geographical distribution

Non-contract private primary school enrollment by academy at the start of the **** school year


Non-contractual private secondary school enrollment by academy at the start of the **** school year


There is a particularly high concentration in the Paris region, especially in the Académie de Versailles.


4.1 Typology of private non-contract schools in France

Number of non-contract establishments by type France, ****, in units Ministry of Education

The majority of these establishments are schools (***).

The higher the level, the fewer these establishments are found: they are mainly designed for younger children.

4.2 Non-contractual preparatory classes

in Paris, a number of non-contracted private prep schools, such as Intégrale, Ipécom Paris, Ipésup and Prépa Commercia, achieve excellent results in competitive business school exams. Although these schools do not recruit via Parcoursup and are expensive (***), they stand out for their freedom in organizing programs and ...

4.3 Prices for non-contracted private schools

In terms of price, there are several varieties linked to several criteria. In fact, private schools without a contract are companies (***), so they are responsible for recruiting the teachers themselves and paying their salaries, and are therefore more expensive. [***]

It is possible for families to receive financial aid for their children's ...


5.1 Regulatory framework for non-contracted private schools

State contract

In France, it is only after five years of operation that a private school can become "sous-contrat". At the end of this period, a school may apply to remain "hors-contrat", but is free to teach in an alternative mode that allows it to choose its programs and timetables. [***]

Teacher ...

5.2 A few rules to follow

Non-contractual private establishments must declare their opening to the academic rector, but their opening is automatic after * months, unless the authorities object. Opposition to opening may be based on various criteria, including reasons of public order, the nationality of the person opening the establishment, criminal convictions, teaching capacity, and others. Non-contractual ...


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Reviews (1)

Reviews (1)

The private school market - France

Publicado en 17/08/2022 by Maria Smirnova

Overall there is a lot of interesting information but I would like to have a little more information about private bilingual and Montessori schools. I also feel that the selection of schools is not representative. This is my point of view and I work in this field.

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